You may have seen Laura in our Valentine’s day profile, with her husband Sagar. We covered their beautiful wedding story and there were lots of joyous photos of the happy couple. At that stage, Laura was preparing for an incredibly gruelling challenge: RideLondon where participants have to cycle 100 miles through the heart of London and neighbouring Essex. Prior to the event, Laura explained her motivation for taking part:

“I partly signed up to do this because I like a challenge but the real reason is that my husband (hee hee I still love saying that), Sagar, lives with beta thalassaemia major. I see the impact thalassaemia has on everything he does from the number of pills he takes, to the amount of pain he’s in, the number of hospital appointments and monthly blood transfusions. However, I also see his positive attitude to not let those things get in the way of taking every opportunity and making the most of every day; something a lot of us can learn from.

“Thalassaemia is a big part of both our lives now and we really appreciate the work being done by UKTS to help people with the condition. I’d wanted to support UKTS for a while but wasn’t sure how, RideLondon seemed fitting. Cycling 100 miles is tough but my pain on the bike will be relatively short-lived compared to the constant pain Sagar has to deal with daily. I’m regularly in awe of his strength and determination to keep going no matter what.”

“I want to try and raise as much awareness about thalassaemia as I can and to encourage people to test for thalassaemia trait, particularly if you’re looking to start a family. This lifelong, genetic blood condition could actually be eradicated with more effective screening.

Laura Barua after completing 100 mile bike ride
Laura Barua after completing 100 mile bike ride

The actual ride

“After months of training, I was pretty nervous the few days before the ride but on the day I was mostly just excited. There were thousands of participants all gathering at Parliament Square where Sagar, my Dad (Adam) and Oreo (our dog) waved me off to the start. It took a while to get started as there were so many people and it was sunny but pretty chilly at 8am! Once moving, it was great to be cycling along the empty roads out towards Epping Forest. For the majority of the ride the weather was pretty good and there were lots of lovely people cheering everyone on along the way, which really helped.

“My little support team met me part way round in Essex. It was great to see Sagar, Dad and Oreo jumping around in matching UKTS T-shirts and with a big sign! After topping up my supply of flapjack and jelly tots which was very much needed at that point (70 miles in), I set off again, seeing whether I could beat them to Tower Bridge for the finish. My legs and bum were pretty sore at this point but the thought of managing to raise over £2,000 for UKTS definitely kept me going. Finishing on Tower Bridge was an incredible feeling, such an iconic setting and I was met by other family and friends cheering me over the finish line! Now the question is what’s the next challenge to work towards?!!”

Sagar had this to say

“I’m so incredibly proud of my amazing wife, Laura. Covering a distance of 100 miles, with over 8 hours of near continuous cycling is a phenomenal feat which she made look easy! Thank you to our generous friends, family and even some complete strangers for helping to raise over £2,000 for UKTS! I know the funds raised will contribute towards helping others manage this challenging condition.”

Romaine Maharaj, Executive Director for UKTS said:

“Thank you so much Laura for your strength and endurance in completing the challenge and for raising a staggering £2,025 which will support our vital work for people with thalassaemia!”

To find out more about thalassaemia and the work of UKTS, click here

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About Author

Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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